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“We’re backed into a corner”

“We’re backed into a corner”

Friday 30 November 2018

“We’re backed into a corner”


Public sector workers have been “backed into a corner” with “nowhere else to go”, the head of Jersey's largest civil service union has said as he revealed more details of next week's strike over the States pay deal deadlock.

Civil servants belonging to two major unions - JCSA Prospect and Unite - have voted unanimously to be the first public sector staff members to start striking in retaliation to stagnating negotiations over pay increases in line with rises in the cost of living.

Members of both unions will be striking next Friday from 09:00 until 11:00 – a move that comes after civil servants began working 'to rule' yesterday, which means they will do no more than the minimum required work as a form of protest.

President of JCSA Prospect Terry Renouf told Express that this unanimous vote was triggered by the States pushing public sector workers into a place which is “totally disrespecting of the staff”.  

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Pictured: The mounting protest comes in retaliation to the pay deal stalemate between public sector workers and the States.

Mr Renouf explained that during the strike, there will be a designated area where the unions will invite States Members to meet with striking staff and speak with them about the pay dispute. The civil service union leader said he would be interested to see which, if any, politicians take up this invitation.

The union leader also made assurances that the strike is “not going to put anyone at risk” and there will be “skeleton services… operating in essential areas.”

Mr Renouf emphasised that the decision to escalate to strike action is not one that civil servants have taken lightly. “It’s a measure we’re taking with great reluctance. It’s not something we want to do. We joined the public service workforce because we want to help the island and the people of Jersey."

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Pictured: JCSA Prospect President Terry Renouf said that the unions will be inviting States Members to the strike to speak to public sector workers fighting for fairer pay.

“We do apologise to the public for the inconvenience that this will cause. Unfortunately, we’re backed into a corner and we have nowhere else to go", he added.

In a plea to islanders who are supportive of the public sector workers embroiled in the pay dispute, Mr Renouf added: “We would encourage the members of the public that do support us to contact their local States Member and put pressure on them… we want to resolve this… we’re not asking for a pay rise, we’re asking for our pay to stay in line with the cost of living." 

Next week's strike could be the first in a series of planned strikes, with discontent rife among public sector workers, who have overwhelmingly rejected the States’ “final” pay offer for next year.

The mounting protest comes as a retaliation to civil servants being told by States Chief Executive Charlie Parker that the 2018/19 pay deal will be forced upon them even if they don’t accept it, warning them that “there is no more money”. 

It isn’t clear yet whether other unions will follow suit, but there is an appetite for strike action amongst other public sector workers.

The President of the Jersey Association of Head Teachers, Sam Cooper, previously confirmed that 94% of his union are in favour of industrial action.

Follow Express for updates…

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